January 28, 2015

Roast Chicken With Achiote And Lime

Recipe: Claire Tansey

Achiote is a hallmark spice in Cuban food. It’s available at Latin American markets and specialty stores.



  • 3 tbsp achiote paste (or powder)
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp ground cumin
  • 20 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 3 to 3 ½ -lb. whole chickens
  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Sauce (optional)
  • 1½  cups chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 lime



Yield: Serves 6

  1.  Combine achiote paste with lime juice and stir until dissolved. Add remaining marinade ingredients. Divide marinade between two large ziplock plastic bags. Add a chicken to each bag, close and massage to work marinade all over and inside chicken. Marinate in fridge at least 6 hours and up to 14 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 °F. Combine baste in a pot over low heat until melted.
  3. Remove chickens from marinade and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Discard remaining marinade, removing any pieces of onion and garlic from chicken. For each chicken, bend wings behind back and tuck them under body and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Season chickens all over with salt and pepper. Roast 60 to 75 minutes, basting with melted butter mixture every 15 minutes, or until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thighs reads 175 °F. Remove from oven, transfer to a warmed platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, to make sauce, spoon out all but 2 tbsp fat from roasting pan. Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium heat. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil several minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in lime juice. Serve over chicken.

John Cullen


House & Home May 2010